Locust attack

Context: Amid reports of locust attack on crops over 1,600 hectares in some parts of the adjoining Sriganganagar district, the Agriculture Department have constituted surveillance teams to keep a vigil in the villages of Fazilka and other districts sharing a border with Rajasthan.

About Locusts:

  • The locusts, known as tiddis locally, have wreaked havoc on standing crops of castor, cumin, jatropha, cotton, and potato, and fodder grass in around 20 talukas.
  • There was an alert from the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) of a massive locust attack in South Asia covering Pakistan and India.
  • The insects fly in during the day and settle on the farms at night making it difficult to ward off the swarms.
  • According to the Agriculture Ministry’s Locust Warning Organisation (LWO), locusts are flying in from Pakistan’s Sindh province and spreading in villages in Rajasthan and Gujarat where south western monsoon had prolonged this time.
  • The locusts emerged from Sudan and Eritrea on Africa’s Red Sea Coast and travelled through Saudi Arabia and Iran to enter Pakistan, where they invaded the Sindh province and from there they moved into Rajasthan and Gujarat.
  • The farmers under seige are hiring workers and using age old techniques like beating drums and vessels to scare the locusts away.

Locust Warning Organisation (LWO)

  • LWO works under the Ministry of Agriculture.
  • It has field headquarter at Jodhpur and Central headquarter at Faridabad with 10 other locus circle offices.
  • In India, the scheme Locust Control and Research (LC&R) is responsible for control of Desert Locust and is being implemented through Organisation known as “Locust Warning Organisation (LWO)” established in 1939.
  • Locust Warning organization (LWO) is responsible to monitor and control the locust situation in Scheduled Desert Area (SDA) mainly in the States of Rajasthan and Gujarat while partly in the States of Punjab and Haryana.
  • LWO keeps itself abreast with the prevailing locust situation at National and International level through monthly Desert Locust Bulletins of FAO issued by the Desert Locust Information Service (DLIS), AGP Division Rome, Italy.

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